East Yorkshire village schools 'threatened' by funding change

Dunswell Primary School
Image caption Parents at Dunswell Primary School have launched a campaign to save it

A number of rural schools are at risk of closing after a change in government funding, according to East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

The council said it had already launched a consultation with parents at two threatened primary schools.

A council officer claimed the possible closures were due to changes in the way money was allocated by government.

The Department for Education said the changes would ensure a "fairer, simpler and more consistent funding system."

Under the new "national funding formula", which will start in April, all schools will get the same lump sum and will be able to apply for extra funding based on criteria such as the number of pupils with special needs and the levels of deprivation in the area.

Being in a rural area will no longer be a factor in claiming extra council funding.

'Worse off'

Paul Butler, inclusion and access manager for East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said Dunswell Primary School and Gembling Primary School were the first of a "handful" of schools that could be closed.

Parents at Dunswell, near Hull, have launched a campaign to save their village school.

Mr Butler said: "The changes that are coming into place will mean that our ability to support small and rural schools is vastly diminished.

"We used to give support to schools with less than 50 pupils in to guarantee them a minimal level of funding."

Mr Butler claimed that half the schools in the area would be "worse off financially under the new regime".

In the document outlining the changes the Department for Education said: "Funding schools in the way that we do now makes our objective to raise the aspirations and attainment of all pupils difficult to achieve.

"We want to enable good schools to expand more easily so that more pupils can benefit, we want funding to follow pupils and for pupils with additional needs to attract additional funding."

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